I met Neema while photographing at a hospital in a remote village in Tanzania, Africa. She was a patient in the children’s ward.We didn’t even speak the same language, but we had an instant connection. Her mother spent her time earning for the family while her 18-year-old brother who was blind took care of her and her siblings. He was also an artist who taught her how to draw.I had taken some chalk with me (I don’t think any of the children there had ever seen chalk!) and everything I drew on the ground, she would copy. Months after I came home I found out Neema had passed away. Her condition, although treatable in the U.S., was not as easily treated where she lived.
I love this photograph of her. It was taken right after I had showed her my digital camera screen. We were giggling and laughing at the little images that seemed to appear like magic. She was fascinated (probably because she had never seen herself before either). Right after this photo she pulled every one of her friends in for the next one. She was always sharing, laughing and such a little light. Much like the flash of a camera, a light that was all too brief but illuminating at all the right moments.